Millennials are modern hippies. They want stuff for free and they gladly share, especially when it comes to music or happiness. Had young people in the sixties used software, it would have been open source. Don’t you think? They would have watched Easy Rider on Netflix and streamed Jimi Hendrix’s latest album on Spotify. And boy did they love a good party! So all together they were a lot like us, but without 4G.
Today, we are moving more and more towards a hippy way of consuming music. We, Gen Y members, generally do not pay for CDs on the shelf because we want our entire music library available on our phone. Not a selection of songs, no, we want it all and we want it now. So we download, we zippy, we stream and we play music from the cloud. Call it a shift from ownership to accessibility. We share playlists with friends to have the perfect song at the right moment. A playlist to get ready for a wild night out, one for going to work at the office on a Monday, one for a road trip to France, a playlist for every single moment you can image.
To show you how hippy things have got, I’ll use the example of iTunes. Don’t be surprised but I feel like the Apple model has become a bit outdated. And apparently the managers at Apple think so too. The brand recently bought Beats Electronics by Dr. Dre and they were willing to spend over $3.2 billion.
Here is why:
- Beats is a very Gen Y brand.
- They make fashionable headphones and today headphones are a fashion item. Just like headbands.
- Those headphones sound awesome and Apple has always focused on music but never really on sound.
- You could have skipped points 1, 2 and 3. The deal is not for the headphones at all, it’s for the Beats music streaming service that is currently more popular among young people than the iTunes store. It will make Apple be able to compete with, among others, Spotify in the near future.
I cannot speak for everyone but I think the iTunes platform is not ‘social’ enough. We are digital hippies and we expect smart recommendations about related bands from Spotify, we like to discover new songs via Shazam, share our opinion about artists in blogs, argue about records on Twitter and play music quizzes on Facebook. Millennials are pretty much music experts but they do not pay for ownership anymore, they pay for experiences or services. I imagine things could move to an iTunes cloud where we buy a song and are free to share and send it to 3 friends who have the same taste in music. Because that would make it social again.
But if this all sounds too woozy for you, there is another choice: vinyl. It is more popular among young people than ever, since the original, offline hippies. I’m a big fan too. Maybe it is pure nostalgia – a bit like no future generation ever knowing why the heck you need a pencil with cassettes?! – or a hang to authenticity in these virtual times. Vinyl is just a great way to ‘de-tech’. The action of taking a record out of its cover, bringing that needle down and searching for a certain song on the album is so inefficient it becomes fun. And the sound, anyone will tell you, is a lot warmer than a CD or a file. That many Gen Y bands – for example XX, Artic Monkeys and Daft Punk – promote their new releases on vinyl and in boxes full of extras, that crafts such as designing an album cover became cool again. There is definitely a restored respect for realness and skills. Honestly, I know few album covers of songs from the nillies. Those who are epic, date from the 60’s until the early 90’s or they are very recent. I immediately think of Nevermind, Abbey Road or Random Access Memories. And after all, that’s no surprise because an album cover on our iPhone is just about the size of a stamp.
So let’s all delete Shazam from our smartphone and waste some time at the record store re-discovering music. Or check my Spotify playlist for the upcoming summer. Whatever sounds best to you…